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National Scifest Award for Our Lady's Castleblayney Student

Congratulations were the order of the day in Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan when 6th Year student, Christopher Carragher, won the overall prize at the National Scifest Final held in Marino Dublin last weekend.

Christopher, whose project entitled ‘Memory Buddy’, will now get an all-expenses trip to Pittsburgh, USA to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in May of next year.

Christopher who is son of Roisín & Martin Carragher, Moneyvolan, Castleblayney has developed an electronic device which will assist people with memory loss or forgetfulness to deal with important issues such as the administration of medication and keeping appointments.

’Memory Buddy’, as Christopher has so aptly named the device, allows people with memory loss to live independently and has the added facility of informing a family member through email whether medication has been taken or not.

Essentially Christopher has developed a box with a screen which using Google Calendar and through the means of a buzzer and flashing light, will remind the person that his/her medication is due and will actually issue the proper medication on the pressing of the button.

This reminder will also appear on the TV screen should the person be watching TV. It will also provide reminders to the person that they have an upcoming appointment and will assist them in locating mislaid personal effects such as keys or bags. Christopher has worked alongside Chemistry teacher, Ms Kathryn Higgins in this project. Ms Higgins also received recognition of the very important part she has played with Christopher and his project and she was awarded the very prestigious Intel Teacher of Excellence Award.

Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D. was in attendance at the Scifest presentation on Friday evening and was fulsome in his praise of the young people, their families and their teachers. He remarked that all of these young people are pursuing avenues of interest which will bring jobs and employment to them. He singled out Christopher’s project ‘Memory Buddy’ in his address, remarking the aid this would be to independent living for many elderly, adding that this indeed is the way forward.

Speaking after the award in Marino on Friday evening, Chemistry teacher, Ms Kathryn Higgins congratulated Christopher on this wonderful achievement. “Christopher has been tremendously focused on the project and has given a huge amount of time and commitment to it. Indeed Christopher’s parents also deserve alot of credit for the support and encouragement given to him since he embarked on this project in January.

The idea had its origins in very simple circumstances as indeed most good ideas do! He observed elderly relatives having difficulty in remembering to take medication etc and out of this Memory Buddy was born! Christopher now goes to Pittsburgh in May where he will meet up on 1800 other young people at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, and he will enjoy a week-long celebration of science, technology & maths with some of the best and brightest young people in the world.

All of us in Our Lady’s are very proud of Christopher’s fantastic achievement and know that he will be a wonderful ambassador for Ireland!”

Christopher is pictured above with parents, Roisín & Martin Carragher and his teacher, Ms Kathryn Higgins who was awarded the very prestigious Intel Teacher of Excellence Award. Congratulations all round.